"Nos Manere" (we remain) - a Subnautica story

2

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  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited March 21
    Little comfort did I get when I managed to crawl up the side of the lifepod in an emotional state resembling a 10-car wreck. As if nearly being torn limb from limb wasn't enough fun, Kate had ventured too close to a "water fountain" that had turned out to be a volcanic vent. Mercifully she'd only been at the topmost part of the superheated blast. Not so mercifully, the EPSI suit had not been able to insulate her...posterior.

    "In your defense I wouldn't have known any better either," was my bleak attempt at consoling Kate as she stood at the ladder with her suit stripped down to her calves. "Let's just be thankful your were facing away from the vent before it imitated Old Faithful." She huffed and sniffed with hurricane force, gripping the rungs until I swore it started creaking. I couldn't even bring myself to smile at the sheer irony of the situation. While I hadn't seen a live human woman 'up-close and personal' for over a decade, I didn't WANT to be getting an eyefull of fiery red skin damaged by the brutal heat. I had sympathy pains just looking at the poor thing. At least my near-miss hadn't actually left me physically harmed.

    At bare minimum (pun not intended) Kate was in immediate need of oral pain relief tablets, antibiotics, a quarter-inch coating of burn gel, the softest bed in existance and a week's worth of rest while being checked on by qualified medical personnel. I had a lifepod with no flat surface big enough to lay down on, a wall doctor that fabricated "band-aid" kits and no formal medical training. To express our situation in the politest terms would probably set a Bible on fire.

    Finally I could do no more than look around one side of my 'patient' and wearily ask if she had at least brought back something. A tear fell to the titanium floor with the softest pip as she nodded tightly and pointed toward some twisted piece of junk lying on one of the seats. "It. Was. In...a little box." Kate huffed through her teeth.

    "About the size of my head?" She nodded tightly. A standard shipping-and-storage crate. The Aurora must have had hundreds of them stored all over the ship. Finding pieces of the tools we needed was possible enough. Finding one in usable condition...not so possible. I wearily rose to my feet to take a closer look at the pitiful object. The thing was very vaguely gun-like, but that description could fit a number of tools.

    Regardless, if the fabricator couldn't immediately make another on the spot fabricator would at least be able to tell what it had used to be, But when the familiar menu appeared there was only one option listed for the active item: "Recycle".

    A moment of dead silence. Then my voice rose to a roar. "The hell do you MEAN you can't scan it?"
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  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited March 21
    We're screwed.

    I can't believe I never tested this. I'm a damn computer nerd, I test everything and trust nothing. But at the same time...why would I have ever needed to? All my life I've been surrounded by a surplus of tools. More than I could ever possibly use. It just never occurred to me that I might possibly not have a working copy on hand. The very idea, until today, was as foreign as not having enough food.

    As I sat there raging I realized it had to occur to Alterra. There's simply no way they could have accidentally not put the ability to take a damaged tool or three and be able to "Frankenstein" a copy, like assembling the parts from three different puzzles missing different pieces to make a whole one. It had to be their obsession with 3D copy protection. Not even in a life or death survival scenario could they be bothered.

    Now for something as simple as making a flashlight I need to go find the ingredients like a star on some demented celebrity cooking show. Except no celebrity had to worry about 10-foot dentists' nightmares or a leaking reactor. Or dealing with unattended first-degree burns.

    Speaking of burns, Kate is sleeping fitfully on the lifepod's floor on a "bed" of white fabric mesh synthesized from a copious amount of alien seaweed. A stray, wrinkled 4-pack of low-dose pain pills in one of her suit's pockets it at least helping her get some rest but the next week is going to royally suck. Pain aside, God help us if she gets an infection. I wish I could do more for her, but I'm so tired after hauling a hunk of freaking weeds through this freaking ocean I think I'm actually tired enough to fall asleep in my chair.

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  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited March 16
    *****

    Morning.

    My first morning on this murderous landless blue hell.

    I don't even have the luxury of addressing all the things I'm missing. My friends, my own bed, the 4D movie system that totally fell off a freighter to end up in our break room. Coffee. I would perform a blood ritual to the devil for a crate of coffee. What I get instead is a couple of tasteless bottled waters and fresh fish - after I catch it. Another one of the stalk-eyed, humpbacked things my P.A.I.* dubbed a "Garryfish" for what the hell ever reason. It calls the taste "floral" but for my money it's reasonably close to Tilapia. Which would be a brilliant little taste from home if I had any lemon butter or tartar sauce. Or for that matter a damn fork to eat it with. I don't mind eating wild-caught food nearly as much as I find eating like a caveman to be...demeaning.

    In between staving off a mental meltdown and cursing my fate I've gone for an early morning scouting expedition towards the Aurora. As barking mad as it seems to intentionally head toward a giant degrading reactor, water is a good enough "shield" against radiation that I'll be able to get reasonably close before my PDA alerts me to my goose cooking. Key thing to remember is staying UNDER the water as much as possible, surfacing only long enough to top up my air supply. Instead of going straight through Sawfish territory I tried a circular end-around that's given me a lovely view of her stern. The ship, that is, not Kate. And chalk up another major distraction to survival planning, searching for salvage...like that giant hunk of hull that I spy with my little eye.

    At first I think I'm seeing things. An entire chunk of the ship has come to rest on the seafloor. A section of the outer hull plating, some support beams, and one of the outermost rooms ripped out wholesale from the violently uncontrolled deorbit. A jackpot - or a boobytrap full of unstable weight, razor edges, live power cables and leaking toxic materials. A hundred excruciating deaths flash through my mind. There will be no help for me if I make a mistake, and then none for Kate. A few of the outermost edges are still faintly glowing from heat, but no matter how many times I circle the wreckage I see no sparks, no trails of evil-looking fluid.

    The only way in is a single door that mercifully is pointing up towards the surface. I reach out as far as I can to grab the orange override handle...and it doesn't budge. As hard as I jerk I might as well try pulling on a mountain. There I am, flailing with one hand pointlessly yanking on the handle until I have to go up for air. Leverage. On the second try I brace one leg against the doorframe. Suddenly I can actually exert some force on the handle until something gives way with a faint hissing. As the (formerly) airtight door falls downward into the interior, I spot the glow of another PDA illuminating the room.

    Unfortunately that's about all there is. A small stack of shipping crates with the shattered pieces of some miniature beacons are all that remain. There are two doors that I could potentially cut open. But without tools, their contents are as off-limits as the Alterra Currency Reserve.

    *personal AI
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  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited March 21
    A/N: Lesson learned - don't try to write for your own convenience. Binned an entire chapter after I realized I was trying to 'cherry pick' choice scavenging sites from the map.

    Ahead the seafloor drops much farther down, easily to 80 meters or more. In an emergency that's more than a meter per second of air I have and I do not like those odds. I need to find another wreck in a shallow area. Fast. Randomly heading off in another direction is my instintual urge but logically a poor choice. Perhaps the Aurora's hull itself can provide a clue. All but one of the four main thrusters are sticking up above the waterline, meaning she came to rest on a fairly shallow ledge or plateau. There's a higher likelihood of running into medical supplies scattered from her the closer I go the the hull. Naturally I'll turn back the INSTANT my EPSI's radiation monitor goes off.

    I can't help but feel more like a puny little bug the closer I swim to the titanic engines of the once-mighty starship. A little bug looking at the corpse of the giant that it had once sheltered it from harm. In return for a little maintenance and fuel she protected me with her titanium skin from the airless freezing void of space. Starvation, dehydration, disease or even boredom were kept at bay with the countless supplies she carried. After awhile I forgot what I was even being protected from - what a mark of true luxury.

    Then it strikes me: I'm a symbiote. That's what I am...what I was. One of many. A part of several organisms living in mutual benefit, one doing what the other cannot. A relationship where both benefit from the other's actions. Now I'm looking from the outside at the decaying shell of the giant while I scrabble for bits falling from its body to survive one more day, almost helpless against the elements and countless mortal dangers. Even the body of the giant may still kill me if her 'heart' continues to spew streams of invisible poisons.

    A faint tremor begins building through the water that transcends even the mighty ocean currents; an angry rumble that shakes my very being as my hair stands on end. At first I think it must be an earthquake - but at sea? Perhaps a tremendous underwater geyser? Then I realize that the giant is in her final groans of death. Her heart is trembling with a force that shakes the waves. Soon it will burst in an orgy of destruction. Perhaps it is about to burst even now!

    The little bug who once rode aboard the giant scrambles to dive back below the waves. Where there is no safety at all, and only the flimsiest hope of finding what it so desperately needs.
    Post edited by DarkStar88 on
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  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited March 16
    I was just passing a field of the skyscraper-tall seaweed when I first saw it in the distance. A sinuous shape, barely visible through the murky tan waters. Immediately I wanted to disbelieve my own eyes as the monstrosity vanished out of sight. But when my PDA warned "large underwater motion detected" I marked up one more entry on the list of "things trying to kill me". Sight unseen, something that large was dangerous even if it didn't see me as a snack. And if it did - there was nothing solid enough to hide behind. My only hope short of not being noticed was to either hug the bottom or go to even shallower waters. So I headed even closer toward the Aurora's stern, poking my head out of the water to get my bearings.

    Big mistake. By now I was almost close enough to draw a straight line between the bottom two thruster ports. The combination of vertigo and primal size-difference fear kicked in bad enough my heartbeat began feeling like a drum set. Another soul-shaking tremor rippled through the waters. Floating there like a lanky fishing bobber, I thought about two things that are almost universal to attract predators: the corpse of a large dying animal and something disturbing their territory. To their dim minds the Aurora must have been both. Which made ME not only a helpless intruder but one with a particularly bad sense of timing.

    I made up my mind to take one last look for supplies before beelining straight aft from the wreck just in time to hear a chunk of hull plunge into the sea to my left. A quick guess put the impact geyser at least three stories high while I shot even faster across the surface. Note to self: C sharp for falling objects or you will B flat. And how wonderful, I'm involuntarily making bad jokes to distract myself from the situation at hand. Maybe next I might start hallucinating for fun and profit.

    So distracted was I by the combination of multiple threats to my life and my degenerating mental state that I almost missed what I'd been looking so hard for. A tiny glimmer of bright cyan amidst the endless drabness. Foolishly I dove toward it with the single-mindedness of a guided rocket. I remember that the crate was half-buried in loose sand, and my elation at the airtight packaging on the first-aid kit being undamaged. But not the moment when i first spotted that shadow...that insidious blotting out of the light. But I must have done all those things, because I distinctly remember whirling my head back and forth so bad I hurt my neck, then diving in a panic to wedge under the edge of a large chunk of hull plating.

    The first thing that came to mind was: Now I'm really in treble. And then the logical half of my brain got in a shouting match with my creative half while my body attempted to occupy less space than physically possible and -

    HAAAAAUUUUUWWWHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNGGGGGHHHHHHHHH
    Post edited by DarkStar88 on
    0x6A7232ChenTheGuy
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    ***Interlude***

    ~Alterra Imail~
    CLEARANCE: INTERNAL ONLY

    To: All_Dept
    From: 1st Class Engineer Zarkowsky
    Regarding: Manual overrides

    Dear everyone -

    I regret to inform you that I will be resigning my position effective yesterday due to a cost-cutting decision that is going to cost people lives at some point. I'll let you know that the rumors regarding using the lowest bidder for the waste recycling system are untrue. Thankfully. So is the one about the atmospheric filtering system not having any redundancy. This time management has decided to cut costs on...doors.

    Yes, this is important. When you get a chance walk down a corridor and count how many doors you go through that have manual overrides. That's the big orange level you yank to get through when the magnetic locks die for the millionth time or when the power goes out. Like when something blows up or a circuit breaker trips.

    It seems that Big Brass has decided that only some doors get that lever. The rest of them STAY locked if the power goes out. So in a life threatening emergency that we totally never have they will do what we engineers call "fail deadly". You will be stuck banging on that door, trying to cut through it, or running around in terror trying to find another exit - if there is one.

    Despite me doing everything short of begging on my knees the decision will go on the final design blueprints for this ship as well as any other ones in the same class. Alterra's shiny new fleet is going to be a deathtrap waiting to happen.

    Hopefully by the time you see this message over someone's shoulder or on "you-know-where" I'll have made it to one of the Rim Systems on a private shuttle, seeing as how things just seem to happen to people who resign without "approval". I tried, people. I really did. If you were in Group D you know how many reports I filed. But there's too much security to try blowing the reactor, too many layers of bureaucracy to even hope for an Administrative Review. This ship will be built with or without me. The most I can do is sound the alarm and get my own hide out before it's nailed to the wall. May God and the families of the survivors forgive me when the inevitable happens.

    Extremely sincerely,

    "Zeke"

    ~End message~


    0x6A7232ChenTheGuy
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    Somehow I'm not crying or shaking. At least not much. Just swimming very wobbly. The true reaction will come later. Now is for getting the hell out of Dodge with my prizes: a power cell and a battery, a med-kit, and two bottles of distilled water. It took far too long to spot the locker I'd been towing behind me, dropped in the scramble to escape.

    This entire areas is off-limits for me. Which is going to suck royally because I spotted almost a half dozen pieces that look like fragments from a Cyclops-class submersible. But going after them would be suicide. And as if the treasure guarded by a dragon weren't enough another certain urge has made itself quite known. So I stop by the outermost vine to cut off enough leaves to fabricate into fabric. Hopefully, it will do for toilet paper.

    The lifepod is waiting. Kate is waiting. My mental meltdown is waiting.

    I make the mistake of wondering out loud "What ELSE could possibly go wrong?"

    "Warning. Local radiation readings suggest the Aurora's drive core has reached critical state. Quantum detonation will occur within 2 hours. Increased distance will provide increased safety."

    ...why me?
    0x6A7232ChenTheGuy
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited March 20
    AN: technical difficulties and LARPing

    Due to my monitor suddenly dying, "Nos Manere" will be slightly delayed.

    On another note, my most recent attempt to get into character involved taping off a Lifepod sized section of the living room and confining myself to it for a couple hours with a box of granola bars, some plain (cooked) catfish nuggets and a few bottles of water. The seat was replaced by a hard wooden chair from the dining room. Finally for sound atmosphere I started a Creative mode game of Subnautica and left my player-character inside the (in-game) Lifepod while playing a 1-hour recording of ocean surf at decently high volume.

    My wife invented some new terms to question my sanity - but I did find out some things useful to writing a Subnautica fanstory. "Cabin fever" doesn't even begin to describe the feeling that starts creeping up on a person confined to what is basically a jail cell. In order to rest lying down I had to curve my midsection around the marking for the ladder and a person accustomed to sleeping straight does NOT feel comfortable in a vaguely C-shaped position. Add the continual pitching of the waves and a "landlubber" survivor would dread going to bed at night. Forget a restful sleep. You'd be trying not to barf until you basically passed out from exhaustion.

    Then there's mealtime. Catfish nuggets are yummy. Lukewarm catfish with the skin still on, no seasoning and no silverware to eat it with? Not quite so pleasant. It makes you feel like you've either regressed to a toddler in terms of eating habits or brings back unpleasant memories of personal poverty. And unlike the survivors I have the luxury of my food not staring back at me.

    This attempt at swimming a mile in my character's shoes, improvised and amateur as it was, proved to be quite throught provoking. I'm considering putting up a video or audio documenting the whole thing.
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  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited April 3
    I ran out of time.

    The two hour estimate ended at least ten minutes ago while I was groping around in the dark by the light of glowing plants, smashing open any lump of rock that might have a faint trace of the silver ore I needed to build a repair tool. My brain is fogged and my legs are on fire. I can barely even swim forward to the lifepod that's too far away.

    A part of me screams that this just isn't fair.

    Emergency: A quantum detonation has occurred in the Aurora's drive core.

    That damnable voice in my headphones starts a countdown that I desperately try to ignore. A few more yards closer, too damn many yards farther away. Ten seconds. I kick and scream between breaths at this wretched planet. Five seconds. The PDA's voice distorts as I pitifully flail harder. A horrible rumble begins to build to my left. The giant is about to bellow one final time and I'm so much too close to it...

    I have enough time to scramble through the bottom hatch and cling to the ladder hugging a half naked woman before an invisible hand shoves the lifepod sideways. Kate wails discordantly as we bounce like a cork. My mouth wants to burst with a scream but it would only echo all the louder. As the world pitches violently the lifepod's frame groans from the force, lifting up for a half second before slamming back down against the water. Amidst it all that haunting monotone of the PDA's voice says something about a suit. We don't need a suit. We need a miracle...

    Somehow the crippled lifepod doesn't capsize in the pitching waves from the aftershock. Slowly - VERY slowly - the gut-shaking lurching settles down to a mere sickening wobble, enough for me to release my death grip around the ladder. Kate still clings to it with the strength borne of fear. "The ship blew up," is the only thing I can stupidly say as I manage to notice that her...feminine traits...are protruding through the rungs at me. Fortunately I'm not the only one running on too little rest so if Kate notices my braindead gawping she doesn't mention it. "I guess we didn't blow up? So...now what? Can we look for an island or something?"

    "I wish. Now we see if I managed to scrounge enough crap to build a repair tool. Or else..." I manage to shut my mouth before I say "we're screwed, and not the fun way."

    Sometimes being a guy is just so freaking inconvenient.


    Slowly the jumble of resources strewn in the lifepod's locker begins to take shape into proper materials. A jagged shard of hull plating into titanium 'balls', raw copper into formed wire. An entire computer processor fabricated from scratch - the first ever made on this planet. Useless fragments and a large egg - mistaken for a mineral node - go tumbling out the bottom hatch. Even though my fingers can barely close enough to pick things up, I'm not too exhausted to realize how utterly hopeless our situation would be without technology. How perilously close we both are from going right back to the Stone Age without even any stone.

    At last all the circles in the fabricator's interface are green. All that work finally paying off. Hours of swimming alone and afraid to get something I could have afforded with an hour's labor back home. The repair tool slowly forms before my eyes like a wish granted by a genie. If I had the energy I'd cheer. As it is, I don't trust myself to do more than slot that precious lone battery into our priceless new tool and make sure it turns on before I slump into the same seat that carried me down from the sky.

    "G'night. Don't break it willya honey...itz expensive."

    AN: Back up and running!
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  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited April 3
    Personal log, T+2

    "Good news, bad news" seems to be the way things go around here for the near future. I woke up to a Lifepod with running lights, the air filters whirring quietly, and a couple fresh fish for breakfast. This is definitely an improvement. The bad news is that building a single tool consumed every scrap of non-common materials we have. There are subtle differences between the rocky outcrops I can somewhat tell which ones are more likely to have silver or gold. In good light. Usually. And I've used what few there were nearby.

    Priority one is a standard scanner. Not only is the wall fabricator "blind" the internal database is pathetically bare-bones now that I've had a moment to look through the list. Even low-end commercial 'fabs have long been able to "jigsaw" furniture from smaller parts. It's practically a rite of passage anymore to print and assemble your own bed. So at best, the wall-fab's internal memory is grossly inadequate. More likely there was just no simulating anyone in a survival scenario lasting longer than a couple standard days.

    I'm not sure if that's just Alterra's usual level of planning or an unspoken expectation that nobody would live this long without outside assistance.


    About 200 meters out, I've made an amazing discovery: exploring without such advanced tools as a map and compass is a bit tricky.

    What's really frustrating is I had my OWN navigation plugin. Back on the Aurora. And assuming it hasn't been blown or crushed to powder I'm sure it's still quite snug in the fingerprint-and-retina locked titanium safe anyone keeps their Really Neat Stuff in. Now I have a grand total of one reference point: the Lifepod itself, automatically locked as a waypoint on my EPSI suit's primitive HUD.

    But that's not the worst part. After rebooting in "emergency mode" my PDA's interface has locked itself to a handful of useful tabs. Not among them are a scratchpad to write notes, an alarm clock, access to a medical encyclopedia, checklists for novice survivalees or a dozen other things that might be very useful for someone stranded lightyears away from help. What really is driving me mad is that I don't even have a gel-pen and something to scribble on if I did. Physical writing material is considered "quaint" and wayfinding tools are built into countless everyday gadgets that I don't have. But even an illiterate caveman with berry juice and an animal skin could make a damn map, then hang a lodestone from a string and have a compass. That is how far down the technological tree I've fallen.

    Unless I can somehow hack one of our PDAs back to regular operations, the two of us will have to commit everything important to memory. This is hardly ideal in the best of circumstances. And lacking any better way of orienting myself I've resorted to swimming in a mostly-straight line from the Lifepod until I find something interesting. If I listen closely, I swear I can hear the ghosts of explorers past laughing at me.

    After a few failed attempts I start to feel almost...childish...in my efforts. As I imagine trying to communicate my daily excursions with one of my literate, educated peers the conversation has an almost comedicly ignorant tone to it.

    "Where did you go today?
    -"Oh, I went over that way."
    "How far did you go?"
    -"I don't know, but it took me a long time to get there and back. But I found some really neat stuff!"
    "What stuff?"
    -"Umm...some stuff I've never seen before...and some really weird plants."
    "Could you show me where it is?"
    -"Umm...maybe?"

    I mentally decide to put a stop to my internal dialog before I feel even more helpless than I already do. Being cut off from civilized society is bad enough. Realizing you can't communicate nonverbally is downright humiliating.

    A/N: According to a physically disabled reader, "the person who survived in your story feels how I feel. I have bad muscle days and can not write or type on a key board. Ideas get stuck in my head and no body can read minds. Sucks doesnt it?? (sic) "

    Oof.
    Post edited by DarkStar88 on
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  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited April 3
    Today has been rather unproductive. I've spent most of it sitting on the back of a glowing, rock-monster with tentacles, listening to it 'singing' to the others in the herd.

    I certainly took a risk clambering on the back of something I'd only seen for the first time a few seconds ago. But the nastiest thing about being so far out in the open water is fatigue sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Then when you realize that you're about a minute from cramping up into a little ball you also notice that there is nothing above the waterline to hang on to. The fear of drowning is bad enough - now imagine drowning while you helplessly float to the bottom. And clinging to an air bladder won't save you from your muscles turning to jelly when the constant waves thrash you to exhaustion.

    My PDA classes these rock-like giants as "Leviathan class herbivores", though I'm unsure where on the scale of plant life to animal life these creatures actually fall. In any case they don't have a visible mouth and seem to not care if I climb on for a ride. Katy absolutely refused to come near even the smaller ones; babbling about 'giant anime creatures'. Whatever those are. Perhaps the tentacles that could wrap around several Lifepods at once have something to do with her outburst?

    Sadly these gentle giants seem content to meander aimlessly instead of truly migrating so I won't be able to use them as easy transport. Still they'll be a welcome 'rest stop'. The larger ones are so encrusted with minerals that I can actually break off chunks without even bothering them. If I can get my mitts on a scanner I'll be more than happy to science the heck out of all the plants growing on top like a portable terrarium. At the very least this one is serving quite well as a tour bus, keeping my exhausted body above the surface while I stare at the smoldering remains of the ship turned into a giant BBQ. Heck - I wonder if this creature could be turned into a self-propelled house. An ambitious idea to be sure, but it would beat being stuck in that Lifepod until goodness-knows-when. Perhaps a short "tube" with a big viewport on the front. Or maybe a single room made of reinforced glass?

    But to replace our current housing would mean fabricating a list of at least dozen different things, half of which we are already in desperate need of. Such are the perils of ambition.

    An ominous warbling sound through my headphones jolts me out of my philosophical debate. Ignorant of radiation, the pod of creatures has decided to turn and head toward the Aurora's wreckage. I can only feel a pang of sorrow for them as I dive off the side and start swimming away from a danger they can neither sense nor comprehend. Hopefully they won't stick around the wreck long enough for me to have to worry about secondary contamination, because our situation is really going to get interesting if we have irradiated monster-islands floating about.

    Chalk up one more planet where mankind has harmed the native wildlife through our oafish blundering.
    Post edited by DarkStar88 on
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  • RockaBen99RockaBen99 Join Date: 2019-03-26 Member: 251971Members Posts: 27 Advanced user
    Wow, great story!
    My signature!
    ]WARNING| Broken |WARNING[
    Hi! Look, another box!
    oh,



    It's empty...





































































    Wait!







    A...








    penny.
    0x6A7232ChenTheGuy
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited April 9
    RockaBen99 wrote: »
    Wow, great story!
    Thank you! Anything more you'd like to see?
    Post edited by DarkStar88 on
  • RockaBen99RockaBen99 Join Date: 2019-03-26 Member: 251971Members Posts: 27 Advanced user
    Well, I guess that maybe another page/chapter would be rather nice to see?
    (If you are talking about the plot, I have no idea, this is your story. I can't wait to see what you come up with!)
    My signature!
    ]WARNING| Broken |WARNING[
    Hi! Look, another box!
    oh,



    It's empty...





































































    Wait!







    A...








    penny.
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited April 11
    AN: Keeping afloat

    One of the many curiosities of Subnautica is the lack of personal flotation devices. It's especially odd because fabricating a life jacket should be a cinch between having access to rubber, fabric, and the aforementioned device. The Air Bladder makes for a handy emergency ascension device as intended - but what about someone trying to actually stay afloat with one?

    I decided to test this theory myself by hanging on to a small toy float procured from Wal-Mart by one arm. After about twenty-five minutes, my arm was utterly reduced to jelly on a stick. And this was in flat-calm water with the shore ten seconds away. If I were being batted about by ocean waves I'd be tired out far sooner and risk having it swatted out of my grip by the sea at any point. If that was the only thing keeping my head above the surface, I'd be screwed.

    Given that the Ryley Robinson can tread water for a fair length of time this also raises the question of how buoyant the "default" clothing is. Even if the EPSI is capable of floating a typical human (unlikely) a swimmer will get a mouth/nosefull of salt water in all but the calmest of waters if you try floating flat on your back.

    Not to mention you'll be drifting off to goodness-knows-where in the meantime.
    Post edited by DarkStar88 on
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    Next chapter up soon, folks! We're welcoming a new furry addition to our family. <3 :)
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited April 19
    “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.

    ― John F. Kennedy

    Not half a week into our imprisonment on this overgrown water balloon and we're already facing shortages of resources courtesy of the Aurora's final gasp of power. "No problem," I thought at first, "I've got a radiation suit!"

    There's one small problem with the radiation suit the PDA unlocked. It's an old model using passive material shielding instead of active energy fields. In layman's terms, it keeps you from being broiled alive by layers of lead plates. Sensible enough as lead is easier to find in most survival situations than a man-portable shield generators. But lead is heavy. A leaded suit will badly impair your movements on land - or send you straight to the ocean floor if you happen to step out of a lifepod. Which is exactly what happened to me.

    Currently my shiny new boots are sitting about 30 meters below me while I contemplate my lack of foresight and have a spirited debate with my cabinmate.

    "Yes, I do SO - kaff kaff - need those boots! Now - let - go - KOFF - of me!!"

    "No you DON'T you crazy lab rat! You need to, like, not drown and leave me here in this horrible scary place with monsters and no people and no toilets! I'm a fitness coordinator for stars' sake not Craig McGill! You have a plan and I don't have the first idea...."

    How I love such intellectually stimulating dialog. Especially when it's being shouted in my ear at molto fortissimo - really helps with clear thinking. Like thinking about what the seven levels of hell to do when I'm short of glowing pods for silicone due to the field of deadly radiation emanating from the Aurora's crumbling shell. This is becoming a problem as few of the vines bear the 'fruit' that the fabricator can process into silicone rubber. I already had to turn back from several within sight when my alarm tripped. This also puts enough titanium and spare parts to build an undersea base hopelessly out of reach. Ditto for anything that survived on the Aurora itself. And since I can't swim while wearing a (supposedly) radiation-proof suit, I can't do a thing to either seal the leaking radiation nor save anything in the "no-go zone".

    That isn't even the worst of our worries, either. The local environment already got its first taste of insidious, invisible poison when the reactor explosion blew contaminated hull plates and machinery all over yonder. Wildlife and ocean currents will further spread them. As secondary irradiation spreads through the food chain any edible plants or animals that don't die off will become worse than useless to us. Eventually the ocean floor itself will become deadly.

    I'd love to follow Kate's spirited advice to "just stay away". But this war will inevitably arrive at our doorstep. If we (more like I) can't patch enough holes to stop further leaks, the only ghost of a prayer of a chance we have is to build a radiation-proof home or build a submarine and make like a Gypsy at sea -

    "...and are you even LISTENING TO ME?!"

    Oops. A sudden crescendo brings me back to the present. Also to the face of a rather angry female.

    "LOOK at that screen, General Lee Oblivious!"

    I s-l-o-w-l-y aim my eyeballs at the main display screen. It's the usual wall of green text - except for one line in red tjat shows our current power reserves. "Oops," is all that manages to fall out of my mouth.

    "EGG-zactly. We have, like, no electricity. I've been waiting for you to be done making that stupid suit that almost drowned you because I'm thirsty so I can go grab a couple fish, hit them on the floor to make them quit squirming and get a teeny tiny little drink. Do you know how GROSS it is to drink water made from an ugly fish?! Do you know how GROSS a girl feels when she can't take a shower for days? And now I have to wait like, forever for this stupid little lifepod-boat-thing to charge its batteries."

    Batteries. An alarm bell starts going off in my head. A craft this small is far too small to have a fusion reactor, so how are we getting power? A pint-size Stirling engine? Fuel cell? Surely not an RTG?* Then I see it right on the screen: "Solar cells." The words make my heart collapse into a black hole as I struggle to my feet.

    "Oh good, now you notice - "

    "How has the weather been?"

    Kate sputter, balls up her fists. "WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MATTER? I can't get a decent drink and you're asking 'hows the weather'?"

    I feel one hand unconsciously stray to the knife, as level as my voice is. "While you've been topside...have you seen thick gray clouds on the horizon? You can rip me a new one later Kate. In fact you can rip me a new one at both ends. But for right now get whatever water you can while I take a good hard look at the clouds. If they're starting to even look like there MIGHT be a storm, don't make anything, because we're about to go without more power and YES I know it's my fault -"

    "Wait, what? What do you - "

    "The batteries charge from solar cells, Kate. Solar cells don't work at night."

    If were starring on a live-action broadcast, some overpaid and overdressed people in a studio would comment on how well Kate's face became the a perfect portrait of inarticulate rage.

    *one of these
    Post edited by DarkStar88 on
    0x6A7232ChenTheGuy
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited May 2
    *****

    I've never been happier to be wrong in all my life. The lefthand number on the energy reserve display is counting up, and the blackness of an alien night looms above us. In hindsight I can't believe I assumed that the label on something was correct on a machine, sight-unseen. My old electrical class teacher would have blistered my eardrums for such an amateur mistake. "Solar cells" my grandma's hoverchair - I can stick my head out right now and see there is absolutely no such thing

    Kate hasn't apologized but we are at least tersely discussing how to better share our mutual energy supply in the future. This wouldn't be half as difficult if I could do as little as stick a note up on the wall. Or perhaps send her a reminder on her PDA, which I COULD do if it weren't locked in this semi-useless "emergency" mode.

    For now I'll be happy that my mismanagement of resources just means I have to wait my turn to get a drink. I don't even mind that Kate's guzzled every drop of drinkable water we have seeing as how her mood improves with every bottle. Ugh. And now I just reminded myself how much I want an ice-cold Oculemonade. I'd pay a hundred credits for just one single can of that fizzy lemony elixir. Two hundred if it's delivered frosty cold...

    This is going to be another long night.

    *****

    AN: another point of divergence from canon, but one I feel needed to be made. It beggars belief that Lifepod 5 is solar-powered when there obviously is NOT a solar panel anywhere to be seen on the exterior. There's also the fact that the charging rate doesn't slow down at night like an actual solar panel.

    So what does power the Lifepod? EDIT: I'll leave that unanswered in canon, but my most loyal fan has put forth a jolly good explanation. Let's go with "some solar, some from...something else".
    Post edited by DarkStar88 on
    0x6A7232ChenTheGuy
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited April 22
    AN: Buy a fellow a drink?

    One pressing question for anyone stranded on a lifeboat at sea is "how much drinking water do I have?"

    Lifepod 5 has an energy reserve of 75 'units'. For convenience I'll call them EU's. Fabricating anything with them takes 5 units, which raises some questions about efficiency, but we'll let that slide for a moment.

    So let's strand ourselves alongside any other survivors in Lifepod 5 for a moment and see how much water we can get assuming we have enough raw materials at hand to keep going until the battery goes from fully charged to dead. You'll be able to press the button 15 times in a row.

    Filtered Water - 6 oz each : 90 oz total

    Disinfected Water - 12 oz each: 180 oz total (1 and 1/2 gallons)

    Large Filtered Water - 15 oz each: 225 oz (1.75 gallons)

    Now to put the numbers in some perspective.

    Ready.gov recommends one gallon of water per person per day in case things really hit the fan. So just to hit that amount for a single person is going to take a lot of Bleach to fabricate a lot of Disinfected Water, or near-constant production of Filtered Water.
    0x6A7232
  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 US Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Members Posts: 5,250 Advanced user
    edited April 23
    DarkStar88 wrote: »
    *****



    So what does power the Lifepod? I'll leave that a mystery and put the conflict down to someone at Alterra messing up the labels.

    @scifiwriterguy had an explanation as to what this could be IIRC. Let me look through his posts and find it...

    EDIT: here:
    0x6A7232 wrote: »
    Better be a fuel cell or something then? Charging some sort of capacitor or regular battery power cell?

    Capacitors tied to a nuclear battery. There are several different designs that would work - thermocouple/thermophotovoltaic, thermionic, alpha/betavoltaic, a handful of others - but a constant-production low-capacity generator tied to a supercapacitor bank would be the most feasible answer; it'd produce energy constantly, independent of environmental conditions, and be a reliable power source for a very long time.

    Unless you crack it open, and then your name better be Bruce Banner or life is going to suck in short order. Luckily, it won't bother you for long.
    Maalteromm wrote: »
    Just playing devil's advocate here...
    Assuming the entirety of the pod surface doubles as solar cells, and that it has better efficiency than current cells. If we approximate the lifepod to a sphere with a radius of 2m, its surface area will be ~50m and a large portion of it will be exposed to the sun.
    High tech equipment should also be more energy efficient.
    I say it's fictionally viable.

    Imho just change it to work as a regular in-game solar cell and it's all cool.

    Fair enough. :)

    If we assume the pod is a rough sphere 2m in diameter, surface area works out to 50.27 m2. About, say, a quarter of that is flotation skirt and underwater, so that's functionally useless, leaving us with roughly 37.7 m2. You're never going to get light exposure on all sides of the pod because the star is a single-point source, so there will be, at most, half of the pod in direct sunlight, or 18.8 m2, which is a little short. Water is highly reflective, though, so let's assume the rest of the pod gets...say, 30% nominal exposure, giving us an effective secondary area of 5.655 m2, for a grand productive total of...24.455 m2, more than the 19 m2 dirt minimum I calculated originally. Taking away the big, gaudy, light-up 5 and other odd bits will shave off maybe two square meters or thereabouts, so, in terms of area, it looks like we're good.

    Now, another hitch is the pod itself: the thing's white. Classically, solar panels are dark - blue or black.
    The color tells you what they are. Nearly all panels are made from silicon, but purity varies, and that changes the crystalline structure of the silicon. Blue panels are polycrystalline, black panels are monocrystal. Between the two, monocrystal panels are more efficient but costly (the silicon must be high purity), while polycrystalline panels are cheaper.
    However, in 2013, a paper was published outlining a method to potentially produce colored solar panels, and a year later, CSEM actually managed to pull it off. (It's a pretty cool process, involving a sandwich of multiple super-thin layers of doped silicon to convert photons into electrons and then harvest them. The nifty bit is that you can make them white, so that's another problem off the checklist.

    Lookin' good! Plus, solar cells are really fragile, so we...um...uh-oh.

    A lifeboat is going to take some knocks, and that's just lifeboats on oceans here on Earth. A lifepod on a spaceship? You're going to be using them in all kinds of environments. High heat to near absolute zero. Vacuum to crushing pressure. Toxic and corrosive environments. Hard rads. You're going to be dropping them on rock, bouncing them off asteroids or ring systems, peppering them with shrapnel. Heck, just take a look at what happened to our pod in the span of about twenty seconds: it was launched out of a burning ship, smashed into an ocean at high speed, and - tiny detail - was way too close for safety to an exploding freaking starship. And yet, that pod comes through looking like a new penny. The clear implication is that those pods can take some abuse without losing capability. (NOTE: Guarantee does not apply to alien quarantine squids sawing pods open. Any alien interaction voids warranty.) One problem the colorized solar panels have is durability: they cannot handle punishment. After everything Old Number 5 has been through, if it were coated with solar cells, it should look shaggier than a shedding buffalo as huge chunks of the cells have been ripped off.

    But, hey, let's just handwave that and say "they figured out the durability problem." They can't make a battery that lasts longer than a sneeze, but they can make a pocketknife that can poke a hole in a submarine, so clearly Alterra quality control is a mixed bag. Let's assume they somehow fixed the solar cell durability problem.

    Sooooo...yeah! It's technically theoretically plausible. Change it to work as a regular in-game solar system, let it serve as an intro to the solar power mechanic as @0x6A7232 suggested, and it's all cool. :)

    EDIT2: As for your other question, if one person is not doing quite as much strenuous exercise, they can drink less. However, with that burn? Yeah, they'll need more at least until they heal up. Remember, though, squeezing Bladderfish takes less (makes less too, but IDK what's actually the most efficient) and you do get SOME water from food (same as in RL).
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  • SlytacularSlytacular Join Date: 2019-04-28 Member: 252619Members Posts: 1 Fully active user
    This was a really fun story to read! I'm surprised by how willing you are to even immerse yourself into a pseudo situation. Subnautica is a lot more game-y in the sense that it doesn't have something like a BCD, or a divers weight belt. Not to mention popping your lungs ascending from a pressured depth to sea-level rapidly. I guess what can defeat that logic is that the humans themselves are biologically enhanced through evolved technology over the 21st century, so that environmental hazards are a lot less likely to kill off people.
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited April 30
    Slytacular wrote: »
    This was a really fun story to read! I'm surprised by how willing you are to even immerse yourself into a pseudo situation..

    Thank you! And yes, I love getting as involved in "being there" as I actually can. This does slow down writing but makes it far more real to all involved.

    On that note, update soon, dear readers. My paid time off WEEK is about to end. XD

    And in regards to decompression the EPSI suit (your 'default' suit) can protect you to a LIMITED extent like an atmospheric diving suit because it is rated for limited vacuum protection. (ie; in a hull breach in space) Per what I'm reading on diving forums, about 100 feet is the absolute MOST you can go before really screwing yourself on decompression sickness.

    EDIT: I must have gone completely mad, ladies and gentlemen, because I realized that even in my landlocked state there are multiple diving certification schools. Going to start contacting them to see what a training class would set me back.

    EDIT: $825. Paetron time?
    0x6A7232
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited May 4
    Another day, another dollar.

    Oh wait. It's night time. Oh wait again - I'm not being paid any more. And I don't know what day it is, so I can't complain on payday. Because there's no calendar, and no clock, and not one clue how long a "day" actually is on this oversized fishbowl full of monsters.

    I don't need an expert to tell that "days" on Planet 4546B don't match up to Sol-standard days. At least I can explain the confusion from waking up in one afternoon and being told by one's cabinmate that it really is the afternoon - of tomorrow, which is now today. Not that it makes me actually feel better. Planet lag, like jet lag before it, means you're dead tired when it's bright sunlight outside and your body suddenly decides it needs to vent your intestines with explosive force. It literally stinks. And metaphorically too, thanks to a little device which has decided to become a digital version of my mother!

    "Fluid intake recommended", intones that wretched voice for the third time.

    Out of one fuzzy eye I see my blue circle flashing red. In a fit of irritation I chug both the purified water bottles in record time just to make it shut up. "THAT enough water for you?!"

    It takes an eternity for the biometric monitor to register. "Fluid intake detected. Vital signs stabilizing."
    Why thank you, Captain Obvious. Next you'll be confirming that jumping off a cliff is a bad idea!

    I want it to stop. Even worse than I want coffee. I want to MAKE it stop so bad a conga line of tempting images parades through my head. Grind it up to little powder between two rocks. Crunchy-crunchy-crunch... But as much as I want to silence that voice I have to grit my teeth at the reality that it is a priceless tool in this situation. But it would be a bit more priceless if the damned volume controls actually DID anything.

    In exhausted boredom, I press my thumb down with all my might on the "down" button, willing it to actually turn down the damn volume. Yet again it doesn't do anything. Any more than screaming at the sky will summon a rescue vessel or scrounging for scraps will build us a two-bedroom apartment. It's all so hopeless we don't even have a toilet to poop in. But I have to keep going. This is real life with no game to load from a few days ago or a reset button to push.

    Oh what I wouldn't give to do that. With the tap of a finger - poof - to be back aboard staying up an hour late with a cold drink in one hand and a flight stick in the other, therapeutically blowing up enemy starcraft in my favorite simulation. One button to reset. Reset. Restore. Recovery?

    Wait a second.

    My brain dusts off a memory so vague that the voice is unclear. Like an old magnetic tape degraded almost past understanding. Something about a class long ago. About two buttons. What about them? Gears spin in my head as I examine my PDA. Three 'hard' buttons - ones you can actually push - one to go to the home menu and two for volume. That's been the standard in cheap mass-produced tablets since the mid-21st century.

    Holding any one of them down never does anything. What about both the volume buttons? Does nothing. One volume button and 'home'? Trial and error. What can possibly go wrong with trying, anyhow.

    Ten seconds - nothing. Fifteen. Twenty. Twenty-five. Oh what the hell it was worth and then the screen goes blank. THE SCREEN. GOES. BLANK. Black, dead and silent as the grave. My heart runs up my throat to peek out my mouth. Father Time stops just to say "hi there sonny! You really done screwed up this time! Maybe you should just go kick one of them big toothy fish in the face to make sure you die sooner!"

    All the water sloshing around in my stomach threatens to come back up my mouth or out my tear ducts. Or maybe both. I can feel my eyes filling with hot acid as I stare at the empty screen waiting for nothing.

    .
    ..
    ...
    ***BOOTLOADER .8b ***
    CONNECT: NONE -
    UP/DOWN - HOME TO SELECT
    1. Normal boot
    2. Update (ERR - NO NET)
    3. SYSTEM RESERVED

    A sob dies in my mouth as the tiny green words about the same time as the hair on the back of my neck stands on end. My fingers shake so badly I resort to pushing the buttons with a knuckle instead of a fingertip. At least three times I look and look again that "1" is selected. The vertical home button gives way with the tiniest click.

    More blackness. Then the dancing blue pyramid appears on screen. Without a giant orange banner about emergency mode.

    "All-tee-raaah"
    Post edited by DarkStar88 on
    0x6A7232ChenTheGuy
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited June 20
    I'm contemplating the wisdom of immediately revealing my brilliant discovery.

    Being a woman, Kate had far more social content on her tablet. Pictures, videos, notes, all manner of artifacts from half a decade of interaction with hundreds of friends from the most casual acquaintance to her 'bestie'. Of course all those friends are recently deceased which made it about ten minutes before she found something that sent her into such a full-blown screaming/crying meltdown that I've found it necessary to escape the escape pod. The invaluable repair tool and a nutrient block were all I was able to snitch from the storage compartment before Kate, in a mindless frenzy of grief, swatted me away while gibbering incomprehensible. If the chair in the escape pod was uncomfortable then my current 'seat' is positively torture - straddled atop a coral 'horns' that just barely sticks up above the waves.

    A drop of water suddenly tickles my ear. Of course it's about to start raining.

    I absentmindedly reach to wipe the moisture away with one hand. But my head moves just enough to spot a pattern of menacing points gliding through the water. A pattern I know all too damn well.

    "KATE!!!"

    She can't hear me. She won't hear me, I realize as I yank my legs off from either side of my uncomfortable perch before they're ripped off at the knee by the lurking predator. Even if both of the lifepod's hatches weren't closed my voice would be drowned out by the sound of the waves. Swimming out to warn her would be suicide but staying here is little better! I grab for my PDA to send her an urgent bulletin - but my hand hits against the upper lip of the horn. There's not even an audible splash as my only link to the world spirals down into the blue gloom of the alien ocean.

    I debate for a second and decide to swim back out at the lower end of the tube rather than jump out from the top. A splash from something as big as me will be like ringing the dinner bell. As I stick my head - carefully - out past the 'bell' I sympathize with primitive man peering out of his cave looking for sabre-toothed tigers. To have inadequate self-defense against things whose senses and brute strength far surpass your own is a terrible fear indeed.

    The cost is not 'all clear'. I just can't see where the Sawback is lurking. Not in the murk of an alien twilight. Especially not when Sawbacks are the only fish I've seen that don't glow in the dark. A brilliant adaptation in a world where all the prey species light up like New Las Vegas. My oxygen is counting down and so are the unknown seconds until something happens to Kate. With all the pathetic speed I can muster, I'm off for a quick round-the-block. Through the lens of adrenaline my every movement is hopelessly clumsy and my swimming sluggish. Halfway around now. Do I scan the bottom for my dropped treasure or around me for toothy death? WHERE do I look around me?! Up? To the side?

    I'm In front of the coral tube now and I look and I can't see it and I look over my shoulder and I can't see anything. Still my air supply shrinks as the plants around me light me up for the gnawing death soon to come for the fool who left his only shelter - there! On a half-moon of royal purple, bending the tender leaf over with its weight. My hand is claw-like as I snatch it up and flee back to my poor shelter. I half expect to see a toothy face smirking at me as I round the bend to the bottom entrance or looming in from the top. More precious seconds pass as I fumble to get my head above water level but not expose myself outside. Even typing on a keypad becomes absurd with my fingers made clumsy by fear.

    >BIG ASS SCARY FISH WITH LOTS OF TEETH OUTSIDE
    >fine i didnt want to swim anyway
    >IM SERIOUS KATE! STAY INSIDE! ONE CAME AFTER ME EARLIER!
    >didn't eat u 8p ?

    I swear so much I run out of English words and start on my old Academy vocabulary. Either Kate doesn't believe what she hasn't seen or is choosing to deny the dangers. All I can do now is hope she listens while I try to make myself comfortable inside the coral horn where I'm only mostly safe. Though the Sawback is too long to turn around inside the horn, it may well be used to swimming through them. If it does I'm going to be a very convenient meat snack wrapped up in a crunchy shell.

    I didn't just feel the wall my leg is squashed against vibrate. Nope. Just my imagination. Or maybe one of those clumsy fish that have glowing acne on their butts bumped against -

    "RAHAAAK!"

    mommy.

    Clever girl. It knows that someone is home even if it can't see.


    Another eternity spent in a space even more cramped than the last. And now I've been saved...by an explosive fish.

    I finally got Kate to look out the top of the lifepod, just in time to see it snap up a meal, tearing the frail body of its prey apart with its dagger-like teeth. From the horrified reaction I take it my fellow survivor hasn't watched a nature show in some time. We were just starting to text each other what to do about the monster between point A and point B when a muffled ka-phoom came from nearby. The marauding Sawfish flashed away, streaming green blood from its mangled face. I could almost feel sorry for what's going to happen when its' packmates catch the scent.

    I saw another piece of Kate's mind crumble as I finally boarded the lifepod with relief. Her burns were a painful accident, eating wild-caught fish an inconvenience to a sushi lover. But she didn't put a finger near her PDA or make the faintest objection while I lectured her about how low we had fallen on the food chain. The brief period of comfort provided by denying reality was shattered by the brutal demonstration of "nature red in tooth and claw". She's a frightened amateur adrift with a poor trainer. We'll both be learning as we go - but our room for error is small and time is not on our side.Her training starts tomorrow. For one more day, "stay close to and stay out of trouble" will have to suffice.

    In the meantime I might have an idea to get to a large wreck on the edge of the irradiated area. It merely requires me to barge in on the home of some short-tempered predators.

    AN: I'm determined not to let my writing quality slip (this last post...needed work) so I'm reading the works of another master of the unknown and horrible - H.P. Lovecraft
    Post edited by DarkStar88 on
    0x6A7232ChenTheGuy
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited June 28
    AN: "Going down"

    The things I do for my writing!

    In the interests of complete madness authenticity, I've attempted to go swimming after putting on a lead suit to see how hard it would actually be. Not having a radiation-proof suit at hand, I crafted something to simulate the weight: an old lifejacket with 20 pounds of fishing weights stuffed where part of the foam used to be. Result: swimming turns into sinking if one is not used to the additional burden. On my first attempt I was very glad that I hadn't followed my first instinct of jumping in on the diving board. That extra weight wore out my swimming stamina faster than my cell phone eats battery power.

    As for doing this in open water, imagine putting Chicago galoshes on yourself and then jumping over the side of a deep sea fishing boat. First floor, doing down.

    Speaking of going down...a comparison between depth in an ocean environment and height in an aboveground environment. Putting on a heavy suit without anything to counteract the burden or allow yourself to take a break is dangerous enough. Consider that you might not be able to release it quickly - ever tried undoing the snaps on a lifejacket while trying not to inhale water? Imagine trying to get rid of an entire suit that's giving you an express ticket to Davy Jones' locker. And while you're fumbling with your lead boots you're also falling from the underwater equivalent of a ten story building. When you encounter the ocean floor (or whatever is underneath), you're going to get a intense but brief education on Newton's laws of motion. You may not go SPLAT like an egg...but your ribcage will be smushed like so many toothpicks.

    "But wait," you say, "I have this nifty balloon that can hold me and my lead vest up!" Okay, have fun floating around with your lead vest and your balloon. Don't let it slip out of your hand or get popped on something sharp! Otherwise the thing keeping you from being parboiled by ionizing radiation will also be the thing keeping you from swimming to the surface.

    Forget ghosts or Slenderman. True horror is standing on the bottom of the ocean floor looking up at the surface, wearing a suit you can't remove keeping you from swimming to that beautiful bounty of air, and about 60 seconds to contemplate your imminent death.
    Post edited by DarkStar88 on
    0x6A7232ChenTheGuy
  • mashedpotatomashedpotato Join Date: 2019-06-20 Member: 253432Members Posts: 2 Fully active user
    I hope you have "Adult" supervision when you do your tests! Hate to read about you in the Darwin Awards! Great story!
    DarkStar880x6A7232ChenTheGuy
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    edited July 4
    I hope you have "Adult" supervision when you do your tests! Hate to read about you in the Darwin Awards! Great story!

    Heh, thanks for the concern. My life insurance company might actually raise my rates for a "hazardous hobby" if they found out. XD

    In all seriousness I'm conducting any further tests in a 3.5 feet deep "duck pond" pool as a first step. Even with my spotter, jumping in 12 feet of water, at height, with additional encumbrance was...not one of my more brilliant plans.

    And about the Darwins...I actually did submit my own story years ago, but for something else entirely. It's expired from their slush pile but I'll repost it or PM you if you're curious.
    Post edited by DarkStar88 on
    0x6A7232
  • NeiserNeiser Join Date: 2019-06-30 Member: 253547Members Posts: 3 Fully active user
    Keep writing man
    ChenTheGuy
  • DarkStar88DarkStar88 Omaha, NE Join Date: 2018-05-03 Member: 240491Members Posts: 62 Advanced user
    When the Aurora was stricken, her crew could run to the escape pods.
    When the Enterprise was crippled, the captain ordered the self-destruct.
    When a jet is falling from the sky, her pilot can pull a lever and eject.

    ...if only escaping from yourself was just as easy.

    New chapter up by Friday. Thank you all for your patience and enthusiasm.
    0x6A7232ChenTheGuy
  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 US Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Members Posts: 5,250 Advanced user
    I would imagine a lead vest could be made with additional volume of lighter material to counterbalance and thus create a more neutral buoyancy. It's all eight vs volume, so if you add a layer of lighter stuff to counter the lead, it should be more manageable. Sandwich the lead between two layers of foam or something.
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